"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting..."
— Quote from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" used in the game's title sequence
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a title for the Nintendo GameCube. Released in 2002, it was developed by Silicon Knights and published (and owned) by Nintendo. The game's genre is classified as psychological horror, and it's influenced by and gives many nods to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, and other similar authors, making it something akin to Resident Evil meets Call of Cthulhu.The story focuses on Alexandra Roivas, a student at a Washington university who is completing her graduate degree in abstract mathematics and number theory. An early morning call from a detective brings her rushing to her grandfather's Rhode Island mansion, to identify his body after his grisly and baffling murder. The detective is at a loss, as the house showed no signs of break in and the old man had no known enemies. Two weeks after the crime scene has been cleaned up and the investigation has hit multiple dead ends, Alex is still in the mansion, alone, having resolved herself to figuring out the mystery behind her grandfather's murder.Her explorations lead her to a hidden book called the Tome of Eternal Darkness, which contains the stories of many people throughout history who were involved in both the unlocking and the fighting against several otherworldly gods. As Alex reads the Tome, she is imparted with the knowledge these long dead people have achieved, as well as arcane magic their own explorations have unleashed. The more she reads of these events, the looser her grip on both reality and sanity gets, but Alex is determined to be the last link in the story, stopping these evil forces once and for all.Eternal Darkness is unique within the horror game genre, and brought several things to the table that no game had before. A versatile magic system allows the player to create new spells using runes (actually closer to sigils or glyphs, as the symbols in the game represent words while real runes are single letters) in a system much like grammatically creating new sentences. The game also included a sanity system; in addition to health and magic meters, a Sanity Meter would drop every time an undead creature saw you. You could regain sanity by decisively finishing the creatures off, though the recovered amount would always be less than that taken away in the initial shock. The lower the player's sanity dropped, the more random hallucinations a player would experience in game. These hallucinations included from hardware tricks such as the controller ceasing to work in a room full of enemies, the video signal cutting out, audio volume changing on its own, and fake memory card deletions. More devious hallucinations involved body parts exploding during unsuccessful magic casting, screaming voices and bleeding walls, random paintings turning from idyllic scenes to hellish environments, and statues and busts watching the player as they walk by them. Books would spontaneously fly from one bookshelf to another, footsteps would follow your character, and you could receive telephone calls and haunting visitations from dead family members.The creators of the game have noted on multiple occasions that they'd like to make a sequel (or several), but there was no news on that front for some time. In late October 2011, the studio laid off the majority of its staff, claiming to be part of an attempt at "refocusing and returning to its roots, working on one of its most requested titles for the next generation.". Lately, however, it seems this focus has done much more harm than good, with the studio in dire straits regarding funding and even an employee count following the underwhelmingX-Men Destiny, and Nintendo having to drop their partnership with them after they had to deal with a legal battle with Activision due to it simply not being financially feasible. One wonders why Nintendo doesn't just hand the IP off to a different third party or just make it in house.On May 6, 2013, the company Precursor Games, formed after Silicon Knights' folding, started a crowd-funding effort to make a spiritual successor for the Wii U and PC called Shadow of the Eternals; a recreation of Oublié Cathedral was being used for early demonstration purposes, but Denis Dyack has said that this will not reflect the final product. Unfortunately, the project was met with widescale suspicion and derision, and the funding ultimately ended in failure, although the team is still eager to pursue it at a later date.
Alternate History: Maybe. Though his death is a mystery even today, Charlemagne the Frank is assassinated in France, in a cathedral that shouldn't exist for 400 years, rather than historical Germany to further the Ancient's plans; his death corresponds to the time he died in the real world.
Anachronic Order: There is a bit of an order to the chapters: while they do tend to jump around a lot, all the chapters that take place in the same location happen in the correct chronological order. Justified when you consider that Mantorok can manipulate time. Every person got the book with the spells that they would need when they needed it in order to further his Gambit Roulette.
Ancient Conspiracy: For at least two thousand years, the Ancients and followers have been keeping their movements out of public view and have been working toward the overthrow of humanity. Mantorok, however, has done a lot of operating out in the open.
And I Must Scream: Mantorok's binding to the temple qualifies, as does Anthony being trapped despairing in an empty chamber under an unrelenting zombifying curse is ended after a few centuries by Paul Luther. There's also Roberto Bianchi, a Venetian architect who gets buried alive in what Pious refers to as "the Pillar of Flesh" (a monolith made of concrete and dead bodies) until his spirit is released over 500 years later; Ellia, a Cambodian slave girl cursed to guard Mantorok's heart for more than 800 years as a rotting corpse; and Karim, a Persian man cursed to spend a whopping 900 years guarding another of the ancient artifacts as a disembodied spirit. Also, the mysterious room where most characters find the Tome of Eternal Darkness.
Another Man's Terror: Given the survival rate of the Tome readers, the player experiences a lot of this.
Anticlimax Boss: A morbidly hilarious inversion. One chapter begins with The Dragon summoning a giant guardian that looks like it'll be one hell of a boss fight. You open the door to its chamber with a message to the effect of "Shall you put an end to this heresy?" There's a huge build-up with the dragon, with the characters declaring their intent to throw down— then the guardian unceremoniously stomps you flat (or makes Your Head A Splode), and admonishes the dragon to not cramp its style. That's right: your character is the anticlimax encounter. You get to fight them with a different character later along the timeline, however.
Bag of Holding: The description for the Tome of Eternal Darkness states it has such properties and easily explains how the characters carry around all the crap they find. This doesn't explain how Edward can carry around a saber and 2 books the size of his head before he gets it. Only Micheal Edwards finds anywhere near as much before the Tome itself, and he finds it in a way he likely got the stuff to carry it as well.
One of the guns in Edward's gun case is an Elephant Gun. It takes Edward a second or two to level it, but you can shoot before that; if you do, Edward gets knocked back on his ass and it takes a moment to get back on his feet. And sweet Christmas is it powerful. Two bullet-firing with a 7-point enchantment will kill a Guardian in one shot.
Karim's Ram Dao certainly fits into this category. Like the Elephant Gun described above, it is wickedly destructive. A "head shot" will destroy a standard target's entire upper body, and properly enchanted, it will slay a Horror in a couple hits, again leaving just a pair of legs to fall comically to the ground.
The Two-Handed Sword used by Anthony, Paul and Peter Jacob can take down a Horror in a few swings, and it's insanely good compared to the weak melee weapons the former two get earlier (a Scramasax and a Mace, respectively).
Blipvert: Happens every time a character, from chapter 3 on, picks up the Tome of Eternal Darkness.
Body Horror: Bonethieves, inducing both nightmares and paranoia.
Book Ends: This pair of gems at the beginning and end of the game, respectively:
Pious:To think that once I could not see beyond the veil of our reality... to see those who dwell behind. My life now has purpose, for I have learned the frailty of flesh and bone... I was once a fool.
Alex:And yet, as quickly as it began, it ended... To think that once I could not see beyond the veil of reality, to see those who dwell behind... I was once a fool.
Bragging Rights Reward: Eternal Mode, unlocked with 100% Completion, gives you invincibility and infinite ammo. Since you've already beaten the game three times just to get it, there's really no use for it unless you care to play the game again for kicks.
Breakable Weapons: Happens often with minor items needed to solve puzzles, and only once with an actual weapon. The first magic spell you learn is one that fixes broken items, though. Items break at plot-specific points though, so there's no damage meter or anything for them.
You'll be asked several times to make a choice, such as "Do you want to read this book?", "Should you turn this wheel?" or "Do you want to go through the door?". Every single one needs to be answered with a hearty "Yes" to continue with the story. It's here so that you have a chance to stop yourself from mindlessly rushing onwards with the plot before you're ready.
"Should [Character] claim the Tome of Eternal Darkness?" No. No, he really shouldn't, especially considering what happened to everyone else who did it. But since your other option is to wander around the mausoleum of creepy statues suspended in a void of blackness with a floor that has a habit of screaming, you might as well.
Also happens if you try to leave an area (e.g. Oublié Cathedral). You'll get a message telling you why your character can't or won't leave.
Camera Abuse: Sometimes, when someone has low sanity and is carrying a gun, he will randomly fire it. Once in a blue moon, he will turn to face you and then fire his gun, putting a "bullet hole" in the "screen."
The Chosen One: Deconstructed. All of the characters, including Pious, have been feeding into Mantorok's plot this whole time, under the guise of saving the world (which they undeniably did) but their fate under Mantorok might not be terribly dissimilar. Even before the 100% Completion ending comes into play, the only way Alex can conquer an Ancient is to summon the opposing Ancient into this world, which wants to dominate the planet just as much as Pious' lord.
Played generally straight with the enchanted Gladius, which only the Guardian of Light can wield. Although all of the Tome-bearing characters are chosen to defend humanity, Alex is the only one with an official heroic title.
Cognizant Limbs: Averted slightly in that you can specifically target the head or arms of all enemies, and only two of 26 enemy types generally bother regrowing lost limbs.
Collector of the Strange: The Roivases. A hidden chamber inside their mansion houses the Tome, as well as portraits and artifacts taken from each location significant to the Ancients and Pious.
Colour Coded Characters: Chattur'gha is red, Ulyaoth is blue, Xel'lotath is green, and Mantorok is purple, with some random yellow enemies which Word of God says are aligned to a fifth Ancient never seen in-game. Their respective spells, glyphs, and minions are tinted appropriately.
Combined Energy Attack / Gondor Calls for Aid: It's kind of a combination of the two. In the final battle, the ghosts of everyone who died while possessing the Tome of Eternal Darkness appears. Each one gets to strike a blow against Pious' artifact.
Ellia gets herself trapped in a temple looking for adventure, while Anthony contracts a deadly curse by peeking on a scroll meant for Charlemagne. Averted with Lindsey. While his curiosity as an archaeologist does lead him to the temple, he's one of the four characters to survive his ordeal.
Dark World: The Trapper Dimension. Thankfully, it's really simple to escape, and even a boon to savvy players.
Dashed Plot Line: The game consists of various people, recorded in the Tome of Eternal Darkness who've fought against the Ancients at different points in history with varying success.
Deflector Shields: The "Damage Field" spell; the enemies' usage of it usually blocks off some hallway and must be dispelled to proceed with a given chapter's plot.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In Edward's chapter, the portraits of the Roivas family and the dialogues of the servants change as his sanity gets lower; however, at that point of the chapter, the only way to lower your sanity enough to see these effects is by summoning more enemies and then fighting them, which you probably didn't think to do until now.
Durable Deathtrap: Though somewhat justified, as revealed to players of an Ulyaoth game.
Dutch Angle: The angle of the third-person camera became progressively more skewy as your Sanity Meter decreased.
Early Bird Boss: The first Horror fought by a killable PC is encountered before any of the spells that make Horrors easy to deal with (Shield and dominant alignment/Mantorok enchant), and the character's only non-limited weapon (the limited throwing weapon isn't much better due to the small room it is fought in) has range that makes hitting its head tricky and stands a good chance of killing the player. Even later Horrors encountered before getting those spells in the same level are easier due to a much better weapon being acquired.
Eldritch Abomination: Exactly what the Ancients are, where they come from or why they do what they do is left largely unanswered.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Three meters - Health, Sanity, and Magic; three corresponding Eldritch Abominations. Respectively; Body, Mind and Soul, which is the theme of each Abomination. Mantorok is the "Nuke" option for this. The game keeps being fun, however.
Enemy Mine: The Chosen and Mantorok work together in order to combat the other three Ancients.
The game may actually subvert this, because although Mantorok seems to be dark and evil, he's portrayed as the opposite in-game, most notably in murals at Angkor Thom. The natives viewed him as a gracious and good fertility god, and loved him. In addition, he, unlike the other Ancients, actually had a physical manifestation on this plane of existence for an unknown thousand of years, without ever harming the human race, which is better than what it's shown that the others would do by far.
Everything Fades: Enemies aligned with the Ancients disappear to another dimension with a crashing sound after being killed. Regular corpses stay right where they are, however, excepting the Tome bearers in scripted events.
Evil Sounds Deep: The voice that recites the runes when you cast a Chattur'gha spell, is one of the deepest, most guttural voices ever. It makes casting spells so much cooler.
Evil Versus Evil: To defeat an Ancient, you have to summon another Ancient that has an advantage against it. Of course, summoning a great evil to destroy a great evil doesn't exactly solve the problem facing humanity. The secret ending reveals that the entire series of events has been manipulated by Mantorok as a ploy to have the Ancients destroy each other, leaving him unopposed.
Evolving Attack: Once you pick up the Pargon ("Power") rune and 5/7 point Circles of Power, you can manually boost the oomph of any given magic spell by just loading it down with Pargons, at the obvious cost of it taking more MP and time to cast. Moreover, since the bad guys use the same magic system the heroes do, Pious starts throwing down 9 point spells that consist of three ordinary runes and six Pargons.
Follow the Leader: When showcasing the game as a classic favorite of his, Spoony actually expressed surprise it's novel combat system wasn't copied in future titles.
Two Best Friends Play argued there is no reason to not aim for the head, but it must be noted that a number of creatures are more inconvenienced by a lost head than anything else.
Flashback Cut: Anybody who claims the Tome of Eternal Darkness spontaneously experiences quick moments in the histories of previous and future owners; it may be a quick representation of their reading the Tome.
Flash Forward: Due to the game's Anachronic Order, the aforementioned Flashback Cut is sometimes about a character from the chronological future. May lead to moments of Fridge Logic. For example, Michael's chapter comes just after Edward's, the last page of which representing his murder 48 years later. Michael sees this, then meets Edward shortly before his death, and he won't warn him.
Flip Personality: Xel'lotath has two personalities that act like this. Some other people may appear this way too, but that just means your sanity meter is too low.
Functional Magic: Mainly force magic, tapping into the power of the ancients. They usually take a passive role in casting and there are many rules to follow. For example, the player can make use of Summon Magic but needs to apply additional mentalism or barriers if they do not intend to eventually fight what is brought forth. Most enemies engage in a mild bit of mentalism as well, it being the mains cause of your draining sanity meter. Blood Magic is not used onscreen but is speculated on.
Gambit Roulette: Spanning millennia and three different timestreams. You need to see the best ending to learn this.
Get Back Here Boss: It takes a while of chasing the thing around before you actually get to fight the vampire in Edward's chapter.
Giant Mook: Horrors, which are pretty damn... horrific. Even if one is not hostile toward you or does not notice your presence, you can still get hurt by simply touching or getting close to one.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Inverted in that looking at monsters has no ill effects. It's when they discover you that it goes to crap, as your sanity can be drained if you never even look at one. Also, Maximillian's sanity was already suspect before he discovered plotting bonethieves.
Good Morning, Crono: Although Alex starts the game fighting an infinite number of zombies in a nightmare before she actually gets around to waking up.
Gross-Up Close-Up: The infamous bathtub scene. Also several of the corpses of NPCs, particularly when Bonethieves are involved.
Guest Star Party Member: With 11 guest stars. Since this isn't an RPG, there's no party involved, but the game hits most portions of this regardless.
Guide Dang It: The Lost Forever items, especially the Mantorok rune, which is easy to miss, but only in the sense that the game doesn't prevent you from progressing without it. Some of the codices that give you the names of the runes and the formulae can be this. Even knowing that a rune codex or spell scroll will always be in the first chapter that requires the spell's use isn't always enough to know where to find the exact spider web that covers the tablet is.
Guns Are Worthless: Averted, once you start controlling characters who exist in an era where gunpowder weapons are used, anyway. Not only that, but playable characters from eras where guns are used tend to be the ones who survive their chapter. World War One era Peter survived to a ripe old age. Edward, though eventually killed by a Guardian many years after his venture, did survive his initial encounters and lived on to be the go-to guy if you had one of the MacGuffins. Lindsey from the 1980s survived, Michael of the Gulf War successfully delivered the MacGuffin to Edward and is still alive at the end of his chapter (though his eventual fate is left ambiguous), and of course, Alex survives in all the endings of the game.
Maximillian's guns are pretty worthless, though, given that they have to be reloaded after every shot. Having two flintlock pistols at once seems like a good idea until you discover how helpless you are while reloading. Better to stick with the saber.
His guns may be worthless, but he did survive his chapter...to an extent...
He Who Must Not Be Seen: The fifth, yellow Ancient, responsible for the damage floors in Ehn'gha and the Forbidden City, as well as the magic affecting Anthony's curse. Denis Dyack later confirmed his existence.
Pious was initially lured to the Ancient's temple by voices beckoning him.
Right at the beginning you hear occasional nonsense whispers while walking around the mansion. These happen before you start to lose your Sanity Meter.
Helpful Mook: Trappers. They can't actually hurt you; all they do is teleport you to an alternate dimension with free healing pads for the cost of not being able to use magic. Though, you might end up running into a few zombies and horrors while there.
Hub Level: The Roivas mansion in Alex's time. It's more like a regular level in some chapters, particularly Maximilian's.
Idle Animation: One of gaming's most versatile examples. The different characters all idle in different ways, and the idle method changes depending on what weapon they're currently equipped with, if any. Even if characters share a weapon (Alex and Pious both wield a Gladius, for instance), they'll toy with them in separate ways.
Immune to Bullets: Go ahead, shoot the Black Guardian and see what it has to say about it.
Improperly Placed Firearms: The OICW wasn't even a concept in 1991; Michael probably should instead have picked up a CAR-15 Colt Commando with an M203 slung underneath.
Infinity+1 Element: The Mantorok rune. With it, you'll almost never need to use the other elements again.
Infinity–1 Sword: The double edged sword, if obtained by Anthony, is usable by two other characters who have a very painful time without it. Peter notably has no other melee weapon able to finish off something, though given his repertoire of magickal spells and his large mana pool, to say nothing of his BFG and large supply of ammo, he might not need one.
Instant Runes: When casting a spell glyphs will appear around you and then light up one by one.
Interface Screw: Ten of the 37 potential hallucinations caused by a low Sanity meter mess directly with the player (instead of their player character), ranging from a subtle bug crawling around on the game screen to a sudden Game Over message promising a sequel.
Invisible Monsters: The vampire, there is also a room in Eng'ha that has invisible trappers.
In That Order: In a Xel'lotath-aligned playthrough, in the prelude cutscene to Chapter 3, Xel'lotath orders Pious to "make sure [Charlemagne] is dead... or insane... Or perhaps one, then the other?" In fact, doing those in the order given turns out to be definitely possible.
Lost Forever: Three items that never appear again if you miss them in the chapter they're each found in. Getting all three is required to receive the Infinity+1 Sword, which is also hidden and lost forever if you miss it. The Mantorok alignment rune (the "Nuke" option in the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors triangle) is also hidden in one chapter around the middle of the game, and inaccessible if you miss it. Finally, Anthony and Paul's Two-Edged Sword and Edward's Elephant Gun are lost forever if you neglect to save NPCs who provide access to them.
Mad Libs Dialogue: 'Kneel before my master <<INSERT NAME HERE>>!' Doesn't happen much, though; most cutscenes featuring the specific Ancient being opposed have three versions, one for each Ancient, with entirely different dialogue. Avoiding this also extends beyond dialogue: events, enemy placement, and nature of some of the puzzles in the game change greatly depending on the Ancient.
Mana Meter: Different sizes and recharge rates for everyone (that has one)
Masquerade: Upholding it is a prime concern of the ancients, since they need followers to let them into the game world.
Meaningful Echo: "To think, that once I could not see beyond the veil of our reality, to see those who dwell behind."
Meaningful Name: See Sdrawkcab Name below about "Roivas." "Ellia" means "chosen one," and Paul, Peter, and Michael are all biblical names. "Karim" means "generous" or "noble." "Edwin" means "rich/blessed friend," and Roberto/Robert means "bright fame," which he was looking for abroad until getting captured (and ultimately achieved in the worst possible way). "Pious" means "doing one's duty with enthusiastic devotion" (again, in the worst possible way), though as a name, it's spelled "Pius." Alexandra is the feminine form of "Alexander," which means "defender of mankind," and for all of Pious's Evil Gloating about how long he's lived, Alexander the Great lived three hundred years before he was born. "Maximillian" derives from the Latin word "maximus," which means "the greatest," and Edward means "rich/blessed guardian." "Anthony" is the English form of the Latin name "Antonius," which was the nomen of the clan or gens Antonia. The first of the Antonii to gain fame was Titus Antonius Merenda, who, in 450 B.C., was one of ten men who helped to complete the Law of the Twelve Tables, which formed the basis of Roman law, and thus the foundation for much of the common law of Western Europe as well. In a less-obscure reference, Mark Antony was the Arch-Enemy of the first Roman emperor, best known as... Gaius Augustus.
Mook Bouncer: Trappers, but they're blind and can usually be crept around.
Mook Maker: Inverted, as the player character gains the ability to create mooks by the halfway point just like the bosses. Mooks the player creates will still have to be killed after control over them is released though.
Moon Logic Puzzle: One of the puzzles has a hint to the effect that you have to find "88 keys" to continue; up to that point, the only keys you've encountered are the kind that open locks, and the hint implies that you have to open another lock, so it's not exactly obvious that the hint was referring to a piano.
Multiple Endings: One standard ending with three distinct variations and one secret ending that you have to defeat the game three times (defeating all three Ancients) to see.
The Multiverse: After you beat the game three times, earning the secret ending, you find out each time you beat the game, it was with an incarnation of Alex from different universes. Essentially defeating Mantorok's enemies across multiple realities.
Mysterious Backer: Mantarok. Sure it's the only one of the Ancients who isn't planning to enter the world and run amok, is actively opposing the others and even spent some time serving as a small village's personal fertility god. On the other hand, it's hardly in a position to oppose humanity and after masterminding the destruction of the other three Ancients, who knows what it's planning.
New Game+: Required to get the best ending. Successful completion of the game records the completion, including the alignment of the dominant Ancient (Pious' master), cutscenes completed and autopsies completed during the Maximillian chapter, all of which can be rewatched (it can be very entertaining to be see the differences in conversations based on the alignment of those involved). Completing the game three times, once per dominant Ancient, gives you the 100% Completion bonuses, including "Eternal Mode", a chapter by chapter playthrough with God Mode and everything unlocked.
Not Using the Z Word: Averted on one end, as Maximillian's Monster Compendium entries record basic minions as zombies, but also inverted. Pious and his minions refer to humans as "flesh and bone", thereby objectifying them as resources to be used.
When your sanity is low, sometimes you might try to open a door only to hear the "locked" sound with no message saying that the door is locked; usually, this happens when a sanity effect is about to occur, but sometimes you just have to wait a few seconds and then try again to open the door. In other words, there is a sanity effect where all the doors to the room are locked, but nothing else happens, not even the flash of light or the cry of "This isn't really happening!"
Lampshaded by Maximillian in his diary: "I have learned to fear nothing, although it is nothing that I most fear."
Notice This: A combination of the characters focusing their attention on collectible objects, and the objects in question faintly glowing.
Oh Crap: Peter has this reaction when he realizes that the Black Guardian is shrinking his barriers during their fight.
Lindsey gets one too, when he shoots Paul Augustine in the chest and doesn't even slow him down.
Ominous Fog: The sign that there is a gate keeper guardian in the immediate area.
Ominous Latin Chanting: Heard among the background music for the Forbidden City, and also used in the holy choir variety whenever an object is collected in Oublié Cathedral.
One Bullet Clips: Averted with most characters, who must hand-feed their rounds into their firearms' chambers, and then played completely straight with Lindsey and Michael's modern, magazine-fed firearms, when the player opts to manually reload.
One Steve Limit: Paul Augustine and Paul Luther. Also Edward Roivas and Michael Edwards, and, if you squint, Edwin Lindsey.
Orbiting Particle Shield: The shield spell surrounds the user with tiny floating particles which fly in the way of anything that would hit the user and expand into a shield to block it. Properly cast, a shield can take seven hits but gate keeper guardians will drop any shield in one hit.
Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts of the Chosen seem to have the ability to maintain hold of physical objects, even when hidden within physical objects themselves.
Poisoned Weapons: Ellia can get a blowgun with poisoned darts, which is good because the weapon does very little damage and gets no additional ammo. You can be sure the zombies you hit with it will die eventually. The Mantorok spells have a "decaying" effect that steadily damages enemies in a manner similar to video game poison but Gate Keeper guardians can turn the "poison" effect off.
Quad Damage: Enchant item can become this with the correct alignment.
Ragnarok-Proofing: Justified: The big bad is maintaining two of the three locations that keep getting revisited over ~1000 years maintained (one of the chapters even involves a character being forced to work on said maintenance) while the other has a separate justification. Plus Amiens Cathedral still stands in the real world (the fact that Anthony's chapter (814 AD) takes place in it way before it being built in ~1220 is another story).
Rainbow Speak: Done in the game's text when talking about key words in general, or items of interest relating to Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, Xel'lotath, or Mantorok.
Sacrificial Lion: Not in short supply. Sometimes averted/subverted as people like Ellia and Karim manage to make a difference even after they're technically dead, but in cases like Anthony's or Paul's, it's played pretty damn straight.
Also, any time you cast a spell, the name of the runes are chanted, one of which is usually the name of the Ancient aligned to the required spell. The Forbidden City and Black Guardian have a habit of beckoning to Chosen, as well.
Ambiguously Sealed Evil in a Can. Aside from getting revenge on the other Ancients, not much light is shed on his motives, especially in regards to humanity.
Secondary Fire: Mike's OICW doubles as a grenade launcher. It can also be set to fire single shot, burst, or full auto. Many other guns have alternate fires as well, usually limited to single/double-barrel, however.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: With very few exceptions, every individual chapter is one of these, though subverted when considered the entire game, since the majority of the chapters accomplish something that eventually helps to defeat the Ancient.
Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted, but not by much. As far as projectile weapons go they're 3rd in the game in power, behind Edward's Elephant Gun and Mike's OICW. That being said, they're still damn good weapons.
Among the books in the Roivas mansion's library are the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. At the end of his chapter, Max is put in the Jefferson Coombs Sanitarium, a shoutout to Lovecraft actor Jeffrey Combs. Also, the detective in the beginning is named Inspector Legrasse, a reference to one of the protagonists in Call of Cthulhu.
Michael must construct a Staff of Ra and use it to reflect light through a center gemstone to aim a laser-like beam of light onto a scale model of a city. Just like Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The fact the fifth Ancient (yellow) remains nameless is itself a shout out to The King in Yellow, Hastur.
Lindsey's chapter is clearly modeled after Indiana Jones: Set in an ancient temple full of pressure place triggered death traps, Edwin himself dresses similar to Indiana Jones and is an archaeologist. You have to pull of the weight replacement bit from the opener of the first movie swapping a metal bracelet with a silver bracelet of the same weight (except in Lindsey's case it actually works). Heck, Paul Augustine even looks like Arnold Ernst Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Edward explicitly name-drops Sir James George Frazer and his comprehensive text, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.
Shown Their Work: Silicon Knights spent a ridiculous amount of time to make the game fit in with real life history as closely as possible; all weapons are era-appropriate and most chapters coincide with major historical events.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: This is done over two thousand years! Not quite as bad as it sounds, the player order goes through events is not the chronological one, so it could be reduced to between 1110-1800 years before they got their act together.
Sprint Meter: Hidden from the eyes of the player, but it's there. Characters will start to stagger and gasp for breath eventually and they must walk or stop and catch their breath before they can resume. It varies from character to character. Micheal, a firefighter, can run for long distances without needing a break while Maximillian, an overweight physician, can only jog for a short period before he starts breathing heavily.
Paul, a Franciscan monk. He has some of the lowest HP in the game and isn't particularly athletic. If a prior condition is met, he can obtain the Two-Edged Sword and wield it the most gracefully out of the three characters with access to it, but without it, apart from Magick, for combat, he's left with a low-damage ranged and short-reach melee weapon. As a bonus, in two out of three routes, he even meets death by squishing.
Peter is in better shape than Paul, but his health isn't much better. His covering WWI has left his brain a bit broken, and if he finds the Two-Edged Sword, he has the same problem Anthony had with it that Paul didn't - it's heavy and difficult for a scrawny guy to wield. He has among the very best capacity for magic of the twelve though, necessary for a Wizard Duel at his chapter's end. He even finds a unique item for the fight that instantly replenishes his entire mana meter. Edward has the smallest possible health bar, but he's got large sanity and magick meters in exchange — magick which can be put to use enchanting his Elephant Gun.
A villainous example is Ulyaoth, who is literally squishy; he looks like a jellyfish.
Status Buff: Four of twelve spells are buffs. Well, technically five if you Mantorok a Reveal Invisible spell.
Story Within a Story: Every time we follow a chapter that focuses on a character that isn't Alex. If you remember, the game starts with the Tome of Eternal Darkness opening to her chapter "A Death in the Family", so every chapter she reads is part of her own personal chapter.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: "Should Paul claim the Tome of Eternal Darkness?" Paul is a Franciscan monk. No, he really shouldn't claim an evil book of sorcery bound in human skin and found in an extradimensional mausoleum where the floor is made of the screaming souls of the damned, especially since he has been accused of murder and heresy. Granted, its Pious doing the accusing, but Paul has no way of knowing that at the time.
Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Just before Peter's duel with the black guardian, you encounter a door and receive a message telling you that absolute evil lurks on the other side of this door, gnawing away at your very soul. It then goes on to ask you, very innocently, if you would like to save your progress.
Tele-Frag: If you can master the timing, it's possible to do this to Horrors while in a Trapper dimension.
Temple of Doom: The Cambodian shrine that binds the Corpse God. Complete with trap-filled corridors!
Through the Eyes of Madness: A lot of what goes on in the game "isn't really happening" but just the same enough is. Maxamillian Roivas's chapter is the best example.
Time Abyss: The four Ancients are millenia old at the least. Pious lives to 2026 years old before his death at the player's hands near the game's end.
The climax takes place during the planetary alignment of 2000, which occurred on May 5 of that year.
Universal Ammunition: Averted. You have or find ammo for individual weapons. If you run out of ammo for your main weapon, you have to switch to your backup.
Upgrade Artifact: The Circles of Power, which is always found in Oublié Cathedral.
Urban Legend of Zelda: With all the various sanity effects that really are in the game, tons of these came out for other kinds of sanity effects that certainly sounded believable.
Use Item: I can't use that jar now? Why not? You sometimes do have a description of what an item is to be used for or why it cannot be used for a specific task at least.
Useless Useful Spell: You can use the Restore and Self runes in combination with one of the three Elder God runes to restore your health, sanity, or mana - but if you cast the mana variation, your mana will drain and then refill itself by the exact amount used to cast the spell. It's funny when you have more than one Elder God rune, but when you only have Ulyaoth, less so.
Walking Wasteland: The Ancients' essences, particularly Mantorok's, are mentioned in the text as corroding the very air around them, needing a cloth to be handled. Also, Ehn'gha seems to have some sort of sphere of influence on the Roivas mansion, as the house staff frequently comments that the building never gets clean no matter how hard their attempts to work.
What Could Have Been: The Templar knight who Pious uses as the foundation for the Pillar of Flesh? He was planned to be a Tome bearer, hence his ability to see the liche's true form. The person that gave Ellia Mantorok's heart was also planned to be playable. Also, Michael was originally conceived as a soldier in the Gulf War before being made into a firefighter; the dead soldier found early on is holding all of the weaponry he was supposed to start with in the first place. Oh, and the whole "it was originally an N64 game" thing, too.
When The Planets Align: Right there in the cover art. You're also given short FMVs between chapters of the planets' progress in making this happen.
Whispering Ghosts: Even when the sanity meter is full they can be heard in some places at regular intervals and the characters in the game can apparently hear them too.
A Winner Is You: Subverted. At the end of a chapter, the game will abruptly throw a static "To Be Continued" image at you and demand that you buy the nonexistent sequel if you want any sort of proper conclusion. Lucky for you, it's just a hallucination, a Shout-Out to the infamously abrupt ending of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
A Wizard Did It: The perfect ending establishes that Mantorok is messing around with time, this may explain how Amiens Cathedral is around in 814 despite being built in the 1200s.
We don't know that Oublié Cathedral was around in 814; Anthony only explored the "old tower" and the catacombs beneath it, so it's possible that the door that Anthony comes in through (which leads to the main sanctuary of Oublié Cathedral in Paul's and Peter's time) may have led outside in Anthony's time. It does explain the OCIW though.
With This Herring: Averted for the most part; few of the characters are warriors or are expecting to be attacked, and the ones that do are armed. Some of them heavily.
Xanatos Sucker: Pious was meant to be a Chosen of Mantorok. When Chattur'gha, Ulyaoth, and Xel'lotath lure him away from Mantorok's service, they present him with the statue that would have been his in the Hall with the others who died in Mantorok's service. The 3 Ancients then trick Pious into destroying his own statue to become their slave. This was all according to Mantorok's plan.
You All Share My Story: "This is not my story... Or even the story of the Roivas family. It is the story of humanity."
Your Cheating Heart: Chandra is punished dearly for not waiting patiently for Karim to return (from a quest she sent him on). However, compared to what might have happened to her or Karim if either of them had touched that artifact, and considering that Chandra's ghost just barely stopped Karim from touching it, it's not that bad.
Your Head A Splode: Poor Paul thought he was gonna get a nice big boss fight with Xel'lotath's Black Guardian... Nope, just a head popping. Also happens occasionally if you try to cast a spell with low sanity, though it isn't permanent.
Zombify The Living: What happens to Anthony; also, anyone killed by the miniboss of Edward's level instantly becomes a hostile zombie (although apart from the very first victim, you can drive it off and save Edward's servants if you're quick enough).